British Expat Living in France - Interview with ema

Published: 12 Jul at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,France
Ema and her husband Peter moved to rural Limousin in South West France at the end of 2013. Leaving Brighton and busy city life behind. They are following their dream to live and run their business De Tout Coeur Limousin. Offering affordable wellbeing & creative activity holidays & workshops from their farmhouse in the heart of the Millevaches Natural Park - just minutes away from the Lac de Vassiviere.
"Do what you love with love and the rest will follow..." ema's expat blog is called De Tout Coeur Limousin (see listing here)

De Tout Coeur Limousin
De Tout Coeur Limousin

Here's the interview with ema...

Where are you originally from?
Brighton, UK

In which country and city are you living now?
France, in the the Limousin, Creuse 23.

How long have you lived in France and how long are you planning to stay?
We moved here at the end of 2013. No plans on leaving.

De Tout Coeur Limousin
De Tout Coeur Limousin
Why did you move to France and what do you do?
To run our business and enjoy a more peaceful and tranquil way of life. My husband is a singing teacher and very keen road cyclist and I am a reiki master-teacher. We both share a love and interest in the great outdoors, music and complementary/holistic health. We run and host affordable well being and creative activity workshops and holidays from our home and business De Tout Coeur Limousin.

Did you bring family with you?
Just my husband and 2 cats. We have since acquired another cat and an ageing rescue Cairn terrier called Eric.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Still in the transition period. It's been hard missing friends and family, and not being as close to them as we were back in the UK. However we have been welcomed so warmly by the locals - both French and ex-pats, and even in this short space of time feel part of the community.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It was a bit scary to start off with but we have made several good friends - both French and other ex-pats. We feel very lucky to have met such lovely people.

Lac de Vassiviere
Lac de Vassiviere
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
The stunning scenery and unspoilt tranquil countryside. We are in the heart of the Millevaches (a thousand springs)regional natural park. A protected area of forests, lakes and mountains and the home of the beautiful Lac de Vassiviere. It's a real 'hidden gem' of France and one of the least populated areas of Western Europe.

What do you enjoy most about living in France?
see above!! And being self-employed (as scary as that is sometimes coming from a secure full time job with a pension). I like being able to make my own hours and work from home, and take Eric le chien for walks around the Lac de Vassiviere and the nearby forests and countryside. Beats the busy commute through London that's for sure!

How does the cost of living in France compare to home?
It's about the same, however wine is much cheaper as are seasonal fruit and veg. Our outgoings are much less too.

Lac de Vassiviere
Lac de Vassiviere
What negatives, if any, are there to living in France?
Only missing friends and family, but we are not so far away (a days drive/ferry or a short flight back to the UK) so we meet up quite regularly either in the UK and have had lots of friends and family visit us here too.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to France, what would it be?
Join in! Meet locals, learn and give the language a go and smile. It goes a long way.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The administration and 'red tape' we have to deal with in a language that we are not yet fluent in! We're getting there and there is good help and advice out there which has been invaluable. It's been hard but it would not have changed our decision to be here.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
We are not thinking that as there are no plans to return back to the UK. We are home. I love the Limousin and the space and the tranquility of our home and business here. A real chance to "do what we love with love".

Ema & Peter
Ema & Peter
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Go for it! Life is short and precious. Don't wait until it's too late to follow your dreams.
  2. Learn the language - invaluable. There are often free lessons available if you register to work, and English lessons/conversation groups and classes are advertised in the local press. The mairie (Mayor's office) is also a great source of local knowledge.
  3. Research the area and visit during the Summer and Winter months to get a more rounded view. We experienced the Winter time staying in a rental property in the area before we moved here and got snowed in. Speak to locals and other ex-pats in the area too - often an invaluable source of knowledge - but do take some of the 'tall tales' with a pinch of salt - some people do like to exaggerate!
  4. Keep breathing! When you are struggling either physically or emotionally just take some time out, re-boot and carry on. It's a big transition moving to another country. It's not unusual to have difficult moments sometimes.
  5. Have faith. You can do it! You are following your dreams. This takes courage and is risky but you can do it. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

    H. Jackson Brown Jr
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Do what you love, with love & the rest will follow. Follow us on our journey setting up our home & business in rural France - living la vie Limousin! "Do what you have to do Resolutely, with all your heart." The Dhammapada
Do stop by and say bonjour. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?

About the author

Expat Blog Listingema is a British expat living in France. Blog description: Do what you love, with love & the rest will follow. Follow us on our journey setting up our home & business in rural France - living la vie Limousin! "Do what you have to do Resolutely, with all your heart." The Dhammapada
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Deni wrote 9 years ago:

As you say Ema, make the most of every moment, smile and have faith in yourself and your dreams. It really does all work out sooner or later.

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